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GARDEN FANATIC:Gardens need spring cleaning

"(Easter) is a religious...activity of Spring in our blood.” — Wallace Stevens

“Earth is a task garden...” — G. K. Chesterton

April stirs a gardener’s blood with a myriad of horticultural opportunities in Laguna ... the largest and brightest selection of flowers, vegetables, shrubs and trees are available this month. Your favorite nursery is literally overflowing with tempting spring bloomers, vying for attention with Easter holiday plants.

Now that the likelihood of additional rain is dwindling (who remembers it ever raining this season?), it is time to prepare your garden for the spring. Trimming shrubs and trees, weed removal and planting new perennials and flowers top the “to do” list during the fourth month of the year (according to the Gregorian calendar). Read on, and let’s get back to the garden with the Plant Man.

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Q. Hi Plant Man. Will Daylight Saving have an effect on my plants?

A. Only that your plants will have more attention from you, because you’ll be able to garden into the early evening!

Q. What is that orange stuff on my rose leaves?

A. Rose rust is a fungus that appears on the undersides of the leaves first. The onset of moderate temperatures and the presence of moisture (think overcast skies) allow the spores to infest roses and other plants. Spray either Funginex or Orthonex at seven day intervals for best control. Keep the ground beneath your roses raked up and clean!

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Q. Plant Man! What’s the best annual color now?

A. I would recommend planting foxglove, petunias, cosmos, phlox, and bedding begonias for brilliant spring color.

Q. Is it time to plant vegetables?

A. Vegetable planting is well under way. Seeds of most kinds may be sown now, such as beets, carrots, corn, lettuce, peas, and radishes. Tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, and eggplant may be found from starters.

Q. Mr. Plant Man, should I prune my fuchsias?

A. Catharine has begun to prune our fuchsias, so it must be time. Prune them to make them bushier this month, and to stimulate new growth.

Q. I forgot to fertilize last month. Am I too late?

A. Absolutely not. But the sooner you do so, the quicker your plants will benefit.

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Q. Plant Man, when was Easter Island discovered?

A. Easter Island was discovered Easter Sunday, 1722, 2,000 miles off the coast of Chile by the Dutch explorer Roggeveen.

I remember someone once telling me that, “Change alone is unchanging.” I guess that makes sense ... but is that the reason we continue to implement Daylight Saving Time? I don’t object to more daylight in the later hours, but I sure miss the daylight in the earlier hours. See you next time (but not too early, because it’s still dark).


  • STEVE KAWARATANI is happily married to award-- winning writer, Catharine Cooper, and has two cats and five dogs. He can be reached at (949) 497-2438, or e-mail to plantman2@mac.com.

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